First of all, even though it says leather shirt, we recommend wearing another shirt under it. Second of all, the leather shirt or leather shirt jacket is less tricky to style than you might think – no, you don’t see that many of them in the wild, but that shouldn’t deter you. It’s just that more movie-star friendly styles – like moto jackets and double riders – are incredibly popular, and we don’t see that changing. Opting instead for a leather shirt jacket keeps you from looking like a Harry Styles wannabe, and since the leather shirt jacket is generally a lighter-weight garment, it’s perfect for springtime.
We’re mildly obsessed with this version, made by heavy denim and leather experts Iron Heart. It’s made from a supple Japanese deerskin that’s more flexible than calf and tougher than lamb, and combined with the snap-button front and the western yoke, it’s the kind of piece that will be at home with faded blue or deep black jeans, whether you’re into Ralph Lauren or ultra-heavyweight denim. The more you wear it, the more it’ll form to your body, and with enough love (or abuse) a piece like this will look absolutely incredible.
There’s no reason you couldn’t wear said jacket over a t-shirt on the weekends, but we suggest playing up the western theme with a Jean Shop denim shirt – because why not? Faded denim looks great with black leather, and it’s also a nod to the occasional chilly spring day. And since denim and leather is such a badass combination, you might as well maximize the effect with as much denim as possible.
Speaking of, this pair of jeans from kick-ass Tokyo newcomers Nine Lives should fulfill your black denim kick. A moderate 13.5 oz denim is far more comfortable year-round than 21 oz monsters or 10 oz lightweights, and the details – such as hidden pockets on the yoke and a slanted coin pocket (to make the thing, y’know, usable) – aren’t so much gimmicks (enough with the selvage-trimmed everything) as well thought-out details. Plus, we know from experience that a well-made slim-straight cut goes with just about everything in most wardrobes.
To keep the theme of heavyweight style in a more comfortable form, we’ve chosen moto boots from arte povera darling M.A.+ to tickle your feetsies. No, they’re not ten-pound engineer boots, but that’s the idea. You get supple leather, as well as a not-quite-traditional take on a traditional style. And don’t listen to the internet noise: you can absolutely wear Maurizio Amadei’s organic shapes with more structured and traditional garments.
Finally, let’s talk about the little details: how about a pair of ridiculous sunglasses? You’re already wearing a leather shirt over a denim shirt, and you might as well keep on having fun. Rose-colored aviators from respected eyewear brand Dita add a not-too-serious 70’s slant to things, and we suggest growing a mustache to go along with them. And Montale’s Aoud Cuir d’Arabie is the perfect accompaniment to an outfit built around a leather shirt – it’s an animalic, almost medicinal oud-and-leather scent that’s been compared at various outlets to “old band-aids,” “camel urine,” “sex and leather,” and “the best B.O. anyone’s ever had.” The dry-down, however, is mellow and approachable, just like you are.
We give it a gold star.
1. Iron Heart Deer Leather Shirt – $1,650 at Self Edge
2. Denim Workshirt – $255 at Jean Shop
3. Slim Straight Work Jeans – $290 at Nine Lives Brand
4. M.A.+ Moto Boots – $2,250 at Idol Brooklyn
5. Dita Mach-Two Sunglasses – $700 at SSENSE